Country, gospel and contemporary Christian artists came together Wednesday night at Belmont University to perform a benefit concert for victims of the Asian tsunami. Christian pop star Michael W. Smith and country singer Kathy Mattea co-hosted the event, An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief, and also performed. Other artists who performed included Steven Curtis Chapman, Diamond Rio, CeCe Winans, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Cropper, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kirk Whalum, tobyMac and Diverse City, Crystal Gayle, MercyMe, Lee Greenwood, Jaci Velasquez, The Whites, The Crabb Family, Dr. Bobby Jones, Michael Martin Murphey, Micah Stampley, Billy Walker and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. Vince Gill made a surprise appearance as the guitarist for the house band.
“I’m doing this because I want to help,” Smith told The Associated Press. “I think it’s a great opportunity to unify with country artists and with gospel artists in this town and make something happen.”
Nashville, known for its country music industry, is also an important center for the Christian music business. Alumni from Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business are numerous in both industries.
100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales and from donations raised from audience members goes to the international relief agency World Vision, as every part of the production — from security to stage setup — was donated, and artists all donated their time. Concert organizer ProjectRestore.org announced today that the concert raised more than $50,000 for WorldVision.
“The sold-out show raised more than $50,000 to help World Vision, the international relief agency which has thousands of staff members on the ground working in the stricken South Asian region where more than 200,000 people have died,” the organization announced in a press release.
An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief was also heard live via satellite exclusively on XM Satellite Radio.
Because the concert was produced with all donated goods and volunteer staffing, including the use of the 1,000-seat Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University, every cent of each $25 ticket went to World Vision. During intermission, World Vision made an additional request for donations, and the audience responded with amazing generosity, offering an estimated $27,000 in cash and check donations. More money is expected to be counted following the concert from audience members and XM Satellite Radio listeners make contributions through World Vision’s website and/or the event’s official website.
The benefit concert was part of the Project Restore initiative, established to serve as the gospel music industry’s unified campaign for raising awareness of how the music community and its fans can be involved, including encouraging financial donations to World Vision and other relief agencies which are directly providing disaster relief for the countries and the victims of the tsunami.
Marty Roe and Diamond Rio
Co-hosts Kathy Mattea and Michael W. Smith
The Crabb Family
Michael Martin Murphrey
Steven Curtis Chapman